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Oregon Oral Health Surveillance System (OOHSS)

The Oregon Oral Health Surveillance System Report is a compilation of data designed to inform policy and program development by providing an overview of health outcomes, behaviors and capacity related to oral health.

Download the 2024 report (pdf)
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Data from Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS): an annual survey of postpartum women with live births.

Data Highlights

Oral health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, however only about 50% of women in Oregon visited the dentist during their pregnancy1. Slightly more (around 65%) of women received a teeth cleaning during the year before pregnancy. This is an improvement from 2015. Healthcare providers can help by educating their patients about the importance of dental care during pregnancy, however only about 55% of women report receiving information from their healthcare provider about dental care during pregnancy.

The best time to educate new parents about the importance of caring for their infant's teeth is during pregnancy and immediately after a child is born. However, only about 30% of women receive guidance on infant tooth decay.​

Data from Oregon Vital Statistics on incidence of cleft lip and palate in Oregon newborns.

Data Highlights

In 2020, 32 infants were born with a cleft lip (with or without a cleft palate). This is a decrease from 40 infants born with this condition in 2010. Additionally, babies born with a cleft palate alone has decreased from 20 in 2010 to 10 in 2020.​

Data from the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH): a national survey that provides rich data on multiple, intersecting aspects of children’s health and well-being. 

Data Highlights
Cavities in children and adolescents are preventable and treatable, however, 14.2% of children in 2020 had one or more oral health problems in the past year (toothache, decayed teeth, unfilled cavities). All children and adolescents should see a dentist at least once per year and 80.5% of children (ages 1-17) saw the dentist , but only 53.1% of children ages 0-5 had a dental visit in the last year. ​

​Data from the Oregon Smile and Healthy Growth Survey: a screening survey conducted every 5 years by the Oral Health Program among children aged 6-9 years in 1st – 3rd grades.

Data Highlights

Since 2002, the percentage of children ages 6-9 with dental decay (including cavities, untreated decay, and rampant decay) has decreased across the board. This is, in part, due to the School Dental Sealant Program. In 2017, 53.2% of 3rd grade children had protective sealants on at least one permanent molar.​

​Data from the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey: a survey of 8th and 11th graders. Updated every two years.​

Data Highlights

Adolescents should have their teeth cleaned twice per year, but only about 75% of Oregon's 8th and 11th grade students had their teeth cleaned in the last year. Further, in 2019, 56.6% of 8th graders and 64.6% of 11th graders reported ever having one or more cavities. The good news is, at least 95% of 8th and 11th graders report brushing their teeth daily and we see large decreases in the number of adolescents using tobacco products.

​Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Data Highlights

The status of oral health among Oregon's adults has remained relatively stable since 2012 and we have seen minimal changes. Indicators of the status of oral health for Oregon's adults include:

  • Yearly visit to the dentist (differentiated among men, women, adults 65 years and older, and adults with diabetes).

  • Tooth loss (differentiated between any tooth loss, 6 or more lost teeth, and no teeth).

​Data on dental utilization among children and adults with Oregon Health Plan (OHP) coverage.

Data Highlights

More children in Oregon are covered by Medicaid and have dental coverage, but accessing dental care remains a challenge. Many dental clinics do not accept Medicaid covered patients. Less than 45% of Oregonians 20 years of age and under with Medicaid or CHIP have been to the dentist in the past year. Additionally, only 36.8% of Oregonians 21 years of age and older with Medicaid have been to the dentist in the past year.​

Oral/pharyngeal cancer diagnosis and mortality rates from the Oregon State Cancer Registry (OSCaR).

Data Highlights

Dentists have an important role to play in preventing (through patient education) and screening for cancers of the mouth and throat. A missed visit to the dentist is a missed opportunity to catch these cancers early. In 2018, 34.4% of oral/pharangeal (throat) cancers were diagnosed at an early stage. However, 148 Oregonians died from oral and pharangeal cancers. ​

Dentist and dental hygienist licenses from the Oregon Board of Dentistry.

Data Highlights

Oregon's oral health workforce is adapting! Although the number of licensed dentists has stayed relatively the same since 2010 (about 1 dentist per 1000 Oregon residents), we have seen some increases in licensed pediatric dentists, licensed dental hygienists, and a large increase in licensed extended practice dental hygienists.  ​

Data on water fluoridation, FQHCs and School-Based Health Centers.

Data Highlights

Community Water Fluoridation is an essential part of oral health infrastructure, however, Oregon has fewer water sources treated with fluoride than any other state. Only 22.5% of Oregonians had access to fluoridated water in 2020. Another essential part of oral health infrastructure is ensuring people have access to dental services for free or at a minimal cost. Federally Qualified Health Centers and School Based Health Centers are critical to increase access, but in 2020, only 24.7% of FQHC patients received dental services. In 2019, only 14% of SBHCs offered dental services.​